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France and Denmark

Political relations and latest visits

Franco-Danish political relations are long-standing, sustained and marked by confidence. The two countries are mutually important partners, both as allies and as European Union Member States. In addition, our analyses converge on many international policy issues (peacekeeping, interest in preventive actions in Africa, primacy of international law, environment).

Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited Copenhagen on 28 November 2014, where he met with Ms Thorning-Schmidt and the ministers of economy and climate. Ms Thorning-Schmidt, together with the Minister of Defence Nicolai Wammen and the Minister of Justice, Ms Mette Frederiksen, joined the republican march in Paris on 11 January 2015. The current Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, visited Paris on 10 November 2016 where he was received by President Hollande, and made further visits on 7 June and 19 July 2017 where he was met by Emmanuel Macron. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault, visited Copenhagen on 9 December 2016 where he met his newly appointed counterpart, Anders Samuelsen.

Queen Margrethe II also regularly makes private visits to France as Prince Consort Henrik is of French origin. Margrethe II met with the French President in November 2007 and with the Prime Ministers in October 2013 and November 2014. She also attended the 70th Anniversary Ceremonies of the Normandy Landings on 6 June 2014.

For more information, visit the website of the French Embassy in Denmark.

Economic relations

France’s trade deficit with Denmark increased in 2014, while in 2013, the French Customs posted a €57 million trade surplus. France has slipped back a place and become Denmark’s 10th-largest supplier behind the United States, but remains Denmark’s 7th-largest customer.

In 2014, France remained an attractive country for Danish investors and Denmark was in 12th-position among foreign investors in France ahead of Sweden (13th) and Norway (20th), according to the Banque de France. The stock of Danish direct investment in France totalled €5.4 billion (0.9% of total FDI stocks held in France). There are over 150 Danish companies in France where they employ around 50,000 people. The ISS Group (integrated services) is the leading foreign employer in France (35,000 employees), followed by Carlsberg (1800). Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, energy and environment, and furniture are the three main sectors of activity represented.

French investment in Denmark is less significant. The French direct investment stock in Denmark has been decreasing steadily since 2005 and was estimated to be €793 million in 2011, or 0.08% of the total stock of French investment made abroad. Almost 210 French businesses have been identified in Denmark, including Saint-Gobain (2400 employees), Keolis (1100) and Schneider Electric (1000). They account for roughly 16,000 jobs and more than €3 billion of total turnover. French companies have participated in most of the major Danish road infrastructure projects (Great Belt Fixed Link and Øresund Fixed Link) and in important projects in the energy and transport sectors, and they have a keen interest in the numerous future projects in the transport sector.

Exports of French goods to Denmark as well as imports increased in 2016 leading to a trade surplus for the second year running. France has maintained its position as Denmark’s 9th-biggest provider, with an increase in its market share to 3.2% (up 0.1% on 2014). Franco-Danish trade also increases in 2016, with a total of €5.1 billion according to French Customs officials, up 3.1% on 2015. Trade nevertheless remains below pre-crisis levels (€5.9 billion in 2007). Danish statistics put trade at €5.3 billion with an increase in 3.6%, within the same order of magnitude as the French figures.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France is the leading destination for Danish tourists. France also works to promote and modernize the image of the French language in Denmark by targeting specialist higher education institutions and professional sectors.

Scientific cooperation between our two countries covers all areas of excellence in Danish research (environment, micro and nano engineering, health, ICT, surveys and studies on Greenland). It is implemented mainly through relations between the various French and Danish research centres as, for example, with the signing of a Partnership Agreement in 2006 between the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF). There is significant researcher mobility between the two countries: more than 400 CNRS researchers went on a mission to Denmark in 2008. The Institut Français in Denmark supports this policy of supporting the mobility of French researchers with its “Blâtand” programme (a week in Denmark for each selected researcher - funding of €1,500 per project) and by also funding events aimed at promoting Franco-Nordic scientific cooperation projects on themes directly linked to the Horizon 2020 programme and the organization of scientific conferences (ESS, Arctique).

Cultural and artistic cooperation is primarily dedicated to promoting cultural industries. The French Film Festival screens 25 films per year (50 screenings in Copenhagen and Aarhus). This event is co-financed by Renault, Air France, TV5Monde and CPH PIX. A programme of invited authors and a Franco-German project in 2017 to create a resource website for players in the publishing industry have helped to promote the book in Denmark. Musical cooperation takes the form of regional Nordic tours with a particular effort made in 2017 (a tour of 4 concerts by a pop-electro artist and a tour of 4 or 5 gigs by a French DJ). This project is co-financed by the Institut Français and the Swedish and Norwegian Institutes. Artistic exchanges in the fields of visual arts (photo, contemporary art), performance arts (dance, theatre, circus), classical, contemporary and jazz music are supported through partnerships created with Danish festivals and Aarhus, which has been voted European Capital of Culture for 2017. Lastly, partnerships with the University of Copenhagen, the Royal Library, Cristiania, the Golden Days festival cover the fields of scientific culture and debate and discussion. They help give French intellectuals and scientists an important role in their programmes.

For more information, visit:

Other cooperation

Military Cooperation

Franco-Danish military cooperation in the field of crisis management developed in 2011 in Libya and has been developing for several years now in the Balkans through the deployment of a Danish contingent under French operational command in Albania: operation Alba in 1997 and operation Allied Harbour in 1999; 188 Danish military personnel are stationed in Kosovo under French command (KFOR). Actions to develop interoperability are also carried out (meetings on maritime surveillance and amphibious capabilities, increasing the overall number of Danish trainee officers). The refocusing of Denmark’s African policy (interdependence of security and development aid) has enabled several cooperation programmes with France, such as regular participation in RECAMP exercises (RECAMP programme for the Reinforcement of African Peacekeeping Capabilities). This active cooperation on the ground (in Kosovo, Libya, Mali, etc.) led to the signing of a letter of intent on 18 June 2014 in Paris to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two Defence Ministers, Mr Le Drian and Mr Wammen.

Updated: 30/10/2017